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Dive Review of Ocho Rios at Jamaica Grande/Palace Resorts Jamaica Grande in
Jamaica/Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios at Jamaica Grande/Palace Resorts Jamaica Grande: "Reefs Not Colorful And Still Plenty of Critters", May, 2017,

by Terri Feinblum, FL, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 10070 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This dive shop is at the resort, which makes it very easy access if you are a guest. There is a dive shop and a building with room to hang up your equipment to dry between dives. We brought our own by choice, but talk to them about gear and whether it is included. The storage room is secure, but do not leave cameras or valuables there. I have a dive computer attached to my reg console, so I bring that back with me. The setup is quite convenient, and we had a blast. From reading varied reviews, the quality of the divemaster is paramount to the best experience; we lucked out on this one! We weren't limited by inexperienced divers, so that gave us freedom.

We had been told that there was nothing to see underwater in Jamaica, and since we were going to the spa, we couldn't resist booking a few days of diving. We found 6 dives to be plenty, and spent the rest of the time enjoying the spa and touring the rainforest and other local spots. Please bring eco-friendly bug spray and wear lightweight pants and long-sleeved shirt. We went to the rainforest after quite a bit of rain, and we did fine, although people scantily covered with no bug spray didn't fare well. There were no bug issues on the resort. There is a plantation also, and some hiking tours they can arrange for you. Be aware if a tour gets cancelled, you might not find out, as Palace is not always called; the resort was quite new when we went, and they were still working this out.

We checked out the dive shop when we arrived to do our paperwork and get our lead and equipment set up, since it was open. The dive boat was comfortable and it was very easy to get in and out of the water. The crew was very friendly. We particularly enjoyed diving with Diego Cebrian, and our dive times were not limited because it was just the three of us, so we spent a lot of time underwater, which was where we wanted to be .I appreciated that on our first day, when they saw I was a little green from the surge, they let me make up the next dive on day 4. There was no surge after day 1.

I took uw photos, and I was not rushed. We wore 3mm suits and it was fine. Because we could swim around the reef at leisure, we saw all kinds of critters, pretty basic stuff, and I got excellent photos, but no macro. The reef was a slimy brownish color, with some pretty corals, and when I saw it I was sure we wouldn't see much, but I was wrong.There was also a small wreck not too deep. One of my favorite finds was a beautiful octopus sitting on a ledge of the reef that let me approach. We saw lobsters, porcupine fish, burr fish, puffers, Intermediate yellow tail damsels, crabs, flounder, rays,eels, shrimp,and many other fish. No, it wasn't loaded, which was why 6 dives was enough. Our main purpose was the spa, so I wouldn't call diving my primary reason for coming here. The first day there was a lot of surge, so I would recommend bringing Dramamine Original in the Orange Tube and taking one an hour before the first dive, and another half an hour before the dive.

They accomodated my underwater camera setup and actually carried my camera onto the boat and again off the boat for me. I didn't realize someone had put it in the sun, and with the fisheye lens on it, the heat melted around the shutter, so it will never fully open again. Please, please if you see anyone carrying your camera, make sure you see exactly where they put it and cover it with a towel or put in a big patch of shade until you rinse and pack it up. It is your responsibility to keep track.

I would recommend this as a good place to dive. Not exciting, but pleasant. Especially good for beginners. Be aware that the Jamaicans are hungry and do fish their reefs. It is upsetting to see the fish trapped in their nets, but it is for food that they need for sustenance, so we are not supposed to rescue them.

Websites Palace Resorts Jamaica Grande

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Bonaire, East Coast of Florida, Florida Keys, Cozumel, Cancun, Mexican Riviera, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Belize, Eleuthras, Bahamas, Curaçao
Closest Airport Sangster International in Montego Bay is a 90 minute drive. Getting There Arrange transfers from Sangster Airport ahead of time by contacting the Transfer Department at the Grande as they could have free transfers from ony one of the two airports. And you want free, right?

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 79-82°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility - Ft/ - M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We have done hundreds of dives, so we were glad we were not babied.We pretty much did whatever we wanted, and we are careful divers and the three of us just relaxed and swam around.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments It was very basic. We brought our camera and strobes after they were assembled in our hotel room. No photo table or charging table, so we did most things in the room. It was fine for what we expected, since diving wasn't the primary thing we planned to do on the trip.We rinsed our gear and camera at the dive shop. Everything was clean and in good repair; just don't expect the setup to be like a liveaboard.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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